The front on the Faroe Shelf

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


The water mass on the Faroe Shelf is distinct from the off-shelf water surrounding the shelf.
This difference of water masses is reflected in the temperature and salinity distributions. The
on-shelf water is colder and fresher than the off-shelf water throughout most of the year. A
temperature/salinity front thus forms, where the on-shelf water meets the off-shelf water. The
waters inside the front have a different cycle of primary production and support a different
ecosystem from the off-shelf waters and they are important nursery areas for larvae of many
commercially important fish stocks. Sea surfa ce temperature measurements from the R/V
Magnus Heinason in the period February 1999 to November 2000 show the existence of the
front throughout the year except for a short period in autumn, and the largest cross-front
gradients are found in the spring. Also, the measurements are used to find typical values for
the frontal location and width in various directions across the shelf. The observed
characteristics of the front are discussed in relation to bottom topography and proximity to a
shelf edge, to the heating/cooling cycle driven by the air-sea heat flux, and to various theories
for fronts generated by tidal or wind mixing.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationShelf Seas Processes: The Foundation for Ecosystem Understanding
Subtitle of host publicationThe Foundation for Ecosystem Understanding
VolumeCM 2002/P:10
Publication statusPublished - 2002

Publication series

NameICES Annual Science Conference


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